New Kamloops mayor may have crossed a line by directing city-contracted security company | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New Kamloops mayor may have crossed a line by directing city-contracted security company

FILE PHOTO - Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson directed a city-contracted company on his own accord, and the City manager says he could have abused his office.

Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson stepped beyond his role when he directed a security company under contract with the City where to go and what businesses to keep an eye on.

The City's chief administrative officer David Trawin said that responsibility lies with staff and it's not up to council, let alone a single member of council, to direct contracted services on their own.

"(Council) will authorize the what. How that gets done is done by staff," Trawin said. "It's an operational issue which is the responsibility of an administrative officer."

Neptune Security provides security for the West Victoria Street corridor. For at least the past two years, the City has been funding security services along the street in response to social issues in the area, where there are two emergency shelters and a supportive housing facility.

Within the past few weeks, Hamer-Jackson said he directed a city-contracted company, Neptune Security, to watch a business near his own used vehicle dealership on West Victoria Street.

Trawin said a bylaw department employee sent him an email from the security company "late last week," which was when he learned of Hamer-Jackson's dealings with the security company.

Although the mayor claims he directed the security company to the neighbouring business, Stereo Warehouse, guards parked their vehicles on his lot and say they were directed by the mayor to do so at least three times within the last month.

READ MORE: Kamloops mayor to be excluded from another meeting of council

Trawin couldn't say whether Hamer-Jackson's decision is an abuse of office, but did say it presents a risk for the mayor. He added the same rules apply to City staff.

"I cannot direct my snowplow officers to direct machines to my street more than once. That's abuse of office," he said.

Trawin said while council may decide whether to fund a security service, or any new policy, it's up to City administration to implement the policy from that direction. In this case, it's be up to the City's bylaw department to determine where the security company will park and focus its patrols.

Not only does Hamer-Jackson's decision to give direction to a company under a city contract risk an abuse of office, it could also be a conflict of interest since he owns the Tru Market dealership on West Victoria.

READ MORE: Kamloops mayor directed city-contracted security to guard his business

"If you are a mayor or councillor and you are directing a contracted service to do something which benefits you it may be a conflict of interest," Trawin said.

Neptune Security now parks at a city-owned parking lot at 48 West Victoria Street after it was directed on Tuesday by bylaw to not park on any private property.

Hamer-Jackson said he only directed the security guards toward the area around his dealership because it's a more central location on the street and the guards can keep watch over the Stereo Warehouse building.

READ MORE: Former Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran charged with sexual assault

Neptune Security guards told they are contracted by the City, not businesses, so they're not there to watch over any particular business on that street.

It's not clear whether the City will investigate the mayor for potentially abusing his office or a conflict of interest. Trawin did say the City would investigate if there's a conflict of interest or abuse of office allegation.

"I'm very reluctant to say whether it was either. We usually do investigations to see if it even happened," he said.

On Friday, Dec. 9, the City issued a statement following two closed council meetings suggesting it had legal exposure over "several issues." The mayor was excluded from both of them because his personal issues me be "adverse" to the City's as an organization, according to its lawyer Denise McCabe.

The statement provided information around conflicts of interest, but it did not specify any individual item or legal issues the mayor may have placed the City in.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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